, Salem, MA


November 9, 2013

Hesitation may be caused by brake safety feature

Q: Our Honda Accord has been having hesitation problems like the 2011 Accord that you featured in your column in The Salem News. The car did not show any hesitation when we test-drove it. It does not happen every day, but the frequency has increased. Do you know if Honda has any technical bulletins on this problem?

A: This problem is talked about in many Honda forums. There is no technical service bulletin for the problem. The general consensus concerning this problem is the very sensitive brake pedal. Because your vehicle has a drive by wire system, which means there is no throttle cable, Honda has designed a safety for a runaway engine. Just the slightest of pressure on the brake pedal will cut the engine down. Many people drive with one foot resting on the brake pedal without realizing it. Be very aware of this condition and see if the problem disappears. Keep the left foot away from the brake!

It’s not just Accords. Everyone needs to understand that the brake safety feature is in response to the throttle problems that plagued Toyota Motor Car Co. Chevrolet had been using the same drive by wire system on some of their cars and had no known complaints. Honda’s response was to integrate an engine/transmission slowdown by touching the brake pedal.

I feel the fault lies with the salespeople. Every customer should be trained in all the safety features of the their car. It makes no difference if it’s a Honda, Acura or any other new car. The salespeople have to spend more time with their customers to explain all the safety features of the car they are buying.

Car Care Tip: Will your battery handle the winter? Nothing is as disheartening as the moaning of an engine starter due to a tired, discharged battery. Today’s cars and trucks have up to 11 computers and even more that require a constant voltage to keep their memory alive. That’s a constant drain on your battery. Plus, add the fact that every 10 degrees below 60 degrees drops your battery strength by 10 percent. Most service stations will give your battery a free check up. When replacing your battery, look for the proper cold-cranking amps rating, as well as the guarantee.


Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to

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